As you've likely heard by now, Microsoft announced yesterday that we've signed an agreement to acquire SSL VPN solution provider Whale Communications:

Microsoft to Acquire Whale Communications, a Leading Provider of SSL VPN and Application Security Technologies

This is really exciting news!  The Whale suite of offerings are very complementary to our edge security solutions, as evidenced by the integrated appliance we collaborated on late last year:

Microsoft and Whale Team Up to Offer “First of Its Kind” Edge Security Appliance

So, does this mean Microsoft (and your humble blogger) is moving away from IPsec to focus on SSL? 

 

Will this, in effect, result in the Whale (Communications) "swallowing up" the IPsec-based solutions and capabilities I've written about numerous times?

 

The short answer is: No. 

 

Although we are still in the process of completing the acquisition and there is much we cannot talk about at this stage, our intentions were clearly stated in the press release that announced this deal:

"The acquisition will give Microsoft’s customers a broader range of choices for providing secure access from more locations and devices."

IPsec remains an important Windows fundamental networking and security technology.  We continue to invest and innovate IPsec as you have seen through the recently released "Simple Policy Update" for XP and WS03 and all the work we've done to greatly improved it in Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn". 

 

IPsec continues to forms the basis of two, very important solutions -- Server and Domain Isolation and Network Access Protection.  And, it can work in combination with an SSL VPN offering, as we demonstrated with the MS/Whale edge security appliance late last year.

 

Again, it really comes down to customer choice and the fact that IPsec is not just a VPN tunneling protocol anymore.  It's also an end-point authentication protocol that happens to offer integrity and confidentially benefits to boot!

 

So, my guidance to you is to continue evaluating IPsec-based solutions to help protect your Windows networks.  If you're planning to attend TechEd 2006 in a few weeks, there are a bunch of great sessions I suggest you checkout for more on doing great things with IPsec:

  • Deploying Server and Domain Isolation with Windows IPsec
    Day/Time: Tuesday, June 13 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM  Room: 52 AB

  • Get Ready for Network Access Protection: What Everybody Needs to Know
    Day/Time: Friday, June 16 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM  Room: Grand Ballroom B

My good buddy and IPsec and NAP guru Gene Ferioli will be presenting these sessions, so you know it'll be worth the time!